VSP releases name of man killed in Thursday I-81 crash

By: 
Darryl Woodson

11 a.m. Friday: Virginia State Police  have identified the man killed in the tractor-trailer accident Thursday that closed southbound I-81 in Rockbridge County most of the day. Cherone B. Thacker, 30, was a passenger in a 2019 Peterbuilt semi that was traveling south and allegedly rear-ended a 2017 Freightliner, causing both to veer off the left side of the road less than a mile north of Route 11.  Thacker, who was not wearing a seat belt, died at the scene. Trooper M.C. Forbes is investigating the crash.

5 p.m. Thursday - Both southbound lanes of Interstate 81 in Rockbridge County have reopened following this morning’s tractor trailer crash at mile marker 196 near Lexington. The detour at exit 200 (Fairfield) has been lifted.

Motorists should continue to expect significant congestion on southbound I-81 and Route 11 in Rockbridge County and southern Augusta County during the late afternoon and early evening hours.

12:33 UPDATE: Virginia Dept. of Transportation announced that Interstate 81 southbound will remain closed until Thursday evening due to the tractor trailer crash near mile marker 196 in the Lexington area. I-81 is closed to southbound traffic at exit 200 (Fairfield). Drivers will detour at exit 200, turn left on Route 710 (Sterrett Road), right on Route 11 (Lee Highway) and rejoin the interstate at exit 195 (Lexington).

Due to heavy traffic volumes, the Virginia Department of Transportation advises motorists to consider the following alternate routes:

  • Southbound I-81 exit 213A (Greenville) in Augusta County. Follow Route 11 south and rejoin I-81 at exit 195.
  • Southbound I-81 exit 217 (Mint Spring/Stuarts Draft) in Augusta County. Follow Route 654 (White Hill Road) west and then Route 11 south to rejoin I-81 at exit 195.
  • Westbound I-64 exit 118A (Lynchburg) to Route 29 south at Lynchburg, then Route 460 west to Roanoke and rejoin I-81 at exit 143.

Northbound I-81 exits 200 and 205 (Raphine/Steeles Tavern) are closed to prevent exiting traffic from backing up onto the ramps. Northbound I-81 drivers who need to access Route 11 in the Rockbridge/Augusta area should use exit 195 or exit 213.

11:33 a.m. UPDATE: At least one fatality has been reported as a result of the tractor-trailer accident on I-81 southbound. Another has been transported to an area health facility. Traffic remains backed up for miles in both directions, and Virginia State Police are rerouting.

11 a.m. - The southbound lanes of Interstate 81 between Timber Ridge and Fairfield remain closed because of this morning's tractor-trailer accident. Also, the left lane of northbound I-81 at the 196 mile marker is closed because of the accident, resulting in backed up traffic northbound as well.

Traffic backups are approximately 3 miles, according to VDOT. Southbound traffic is being detoured off of I-81 southbound at Fairfield onto U.S. 11 and put back on I-81 at Timber Ridge, snarling traffic on U.S. 11.

8:30 a.m. Thursday - Both southbound lanes of Interstate 81 are closed just north of the Timber Ridge exit due to a crash involving two tractor-trailers near mile marker 196. The crash was reported about 6:30 Thursday morning. The southbound I-81 closure is expected to last several more hours.

Drivers using southbound I-81 will detour at exit 200 at Fairfield, turn left on Route 710 (Sterrett Road) and right on Route 11 (Lee Highway). They will rejoin the interstate at exit 195 at Timber Ridge.

Virginia traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at http://www.511Virginia.org.

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